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English is the most creative, changeable and imaginative of languages. Some words are invented to meet temporary needs and are quickly discarded; others carry meanings hundreds of years old. Language fascinates us, and we spend a lot of time playing with it, concocting everything from puns, riddles and secret languages to wonderful prose and poetry. We also worry about it a great deal, looking up and checking words in dictionaries and usage guides, occasionally arguing about definitions. This book celebrates our capacity to play with language, as well as examining the ways we use it: in slang and jargon, swearing, speaking the unspeakable, or concealing unpleasant or inconvenient facts. It is a book for browsing, for finding beguiling snippets about language, history and social customs, and for using as a formidable weapon in word games.